Tuesday, May 27, 2008

New Project: BUBBLES bubbles Wrap

This project has been alluded to in a previous post, but here are the details (though also available on Ravelry)...

This is a pattern called "BUBBLES bubbles" by Carol H. Rhoades. It can be made into a scarf or a wrap, requiring 1 or 2 skeins of Brooks Farm Acero, respectively. The pattern was purchased at Brooks Farm during this year's MS&W, as well as two skeins of Acero for the wrap. The pattern calls for size 6 needles but I'm using size 7 because that's what I have right now. Bad me - I didn't bother to gauge my stitches. I hope that doesn't affect the final project.

My progress so far - I'm on the third repeat of the bubbles pattern:

Bubbles Wrap 01

And here is a close-up showing what the pattern looks like knitted. You can see why the pattern is called "BUBBLES bubbles". I hope this photo is helpful to other people making the wrap as there is not a photo included with the pattern.

Bubbles Wrap 03

The Mistress and I are both making the wrap so we're knitting together long-distance. I've been a bit distracted lately with another project so my progress overall is slow. I'm hoping to have it completed by the end of July - but that depends on whether or not I get bored with it and/or other projects get in the way.

I'm off on another business trip today. Sadly, no yarn stores are nearby. But do I really need more yarn???

Monday, May 26, 2008

Black Sheep Fiber Company in Utah

I made it out to Utah - a good flight out, a not so good flight back. Tornadoes in Denver delayed my flight (meaning I got home at 2 am instead of 12:30 am) and this otherwise cute little boy, who coughed his way through the flight, gave me a wicked sore throat that I'm still battling today (4 days later).

But my time in Utah was productive for work and it was more enjoyable given the fact that I could walk to a yarn store.

Black Sheep Wool Company
430 East South Temple
Salt Lake City, Utah

What a wonderful LYS! If I lived in Salt Lake City - which I don't and I expect I never will - it would be my LYS of choice. At least it will by my LYS of choice when visiting SLC.

A co-worker and I walked from our hotel downtown to Black Sheep Wool Company. It wasn't a far walk and it was good to stretch our legs after the long flight from the East coast. While you can see the store from Google Maps, here are some better photos of the outside of the shop.

Black Sheep Wool Company 01

Black Sheep Wool Company 02

The store is located on the second floor. No worries if you need assistance with the stairs as there is a motorized chair installed along the stairs to whisk you to the top. The store was a good size and there was lots of natural light streaming in through the windows. The owners were nice enough to let me take a few photos inside, too.

Black Sheep Wool Company 04

Black Sheep Wool Company 03

What is not pictured is the wall of notions - needles, hooks, counters, buttons, etc. Just about everything you'd need. And yes, I said hooks. This store is very crochet friendly. The yarn selection was delightful - from Noro to Debbie Bliss to yarns I've never heard of. Case in point - the hank of gorgeous merino wool I just had to have.

SLC Purchase

It's Fa Re by Baruffa, made in Italy, and it's 100% merino wool. Sooooo soft and the color is such a fabulous green. I also bought the pattern pictured. The store had a great assortment of patterns and what I really appreciated was that the patterns were sold in those handy protective plastic sleeves. Now I'm not sure if I'll use the merino for this shawl or if I'll use the off-white mohair I bought a couple MS&Ws ago.
Regardless of the yarn I choose to use, I'm excited about this shawl pattern.

The Black Sheep Wool Company is a must see if you're in Salt Lake City. Friendly staff, great yarn and pattern selection, and crocheters are as welcome as knitters.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Traveling Again

The next few weeks involve quite a bit of travel for work. I'm off to Salt Lake City at the a$$ crack of dawn tomorrow, then it's Florida next week and New England the following week. I'm hoping to find some local yarn stores within walking distance of my hotels since I won't have a car.

A quick search of Salt Lake City over that the Yarn Store Directory resulted in 6 stores. Sadly, only one is within walking distance.

Black Sheep Wool Company
430 East South Temple
Salt Lake City, Utah

I should have a full report of my visit there upon my return this weekend. In the meantime, I leave you with photos of the cake I made on Sunday for a coworker who just got her Masters degree from George Mason University (hence, the green and yellow frosting).

Grad Cake 01

Grad Cake 02

Sunday, May 18, 2008

MS&W 2008

Two weeks ago, my girls were here for MS&W. I'm just now posting about it. Better late than never, right?

It was a wonderful weekend all around. Spending time with the girls is always wonderful and it made my heart so happy and my spirit at ease. It is that sisterly bond we have, making it possible to always pick up right where we left off the last time we were together, whether it has been weeks, months, or more than a year. I must say that we were a bit reserved during this visit, not as silly or zany as usual. But there was this aura of calmness and contentment which we all seemed to put forth. A respite from our hectic and unpredictable lives, we basked in the zen energy of all being together.

Oh, and the beer was really good, too. :)

So - onto some less existential details and some photos:

We went to the festival early Saturday morning. It was overcast and there seemed to be a haze surrounding the fairgrounds.



It was about 8:15 am when we got there and we were surprised to see that The Fold was already open for business. It seems that vendors are required to be open by 9am but they can open earlier if they want. We, instead, decided to tough it out in the t-shirt line. And it was as long and as disorganzied as ever.


If I didn't enjoy going to the festival so much I'd volunteer to get the t-shirt operations under control and efficient. EGADS! we were in line for almost TWO HOURS!! Was it worth it? Yes, because we didn't have to pay for shipping. Plus, as we were waiting in line, the Queen had a chance to check out some vendors and she bought me this t-shirt:


I absolutely LOVE IT! A political statement with sheep humor - how could you not love it? (Well, I guess if Obama isn't your candidate of choice, you wouldn't.) The gift was really too generous as she had already given me some fabulous hand-made dishcloths - which go perfectly with my kitchen.

Dishcloths from the Queen

After the hellish t-shirt line, we walked around and did some shopping and took some photos (click to enlarge):

DSC05111 DSC05112 DSC05113 DSC05115 DSC05117 DSC05118 DSC05122 DSC05123 DSC05124 DSC05125 DSC05126 DSC05127 DSC05129 DSC05131 DSC05133

And one of my favorite photos - Lamb Booty
Lamb booty

We also made the walk down to the Rabbit Barn for the Ravelry meet-up. It was another mob fest and not very organized. But unlike the t-shirt line with people who should know what kinds of crowds to expect, I doubt the Ravelry people knew just how many of us would show up. We stood in line to get our Ravelry avatar stickers and a button. I think it took like 40 minutes to get them but it was worth it. Ain't it cute?

MSW Ravelry Button

While we wore them all day, I didn't have anyone come up and say hello. But I didn't say hello to anyone either, so I can't complain.

So how much yarn did I buy this year? Believe or not, I was uber restrained in my purchasing. I only bought two skeins of yarn. TWO SKEINS - and yes, I'm as shocked as you are. Here's my fiber - Acero from Brooks Farm:

Brooks Farm Acero 2

This photo shows me already using it to make the BUBBLES bubbles wrap (pattern also bought at Brooks Farm). The Mistress and I are both making this shawl and it's been fun to knit it with her long-distance.

I also bought a painting - just a print of painting and it's on the small side but I love it. From Charisma Art Gallery and artist Conni Tögel, this print is entitled "Happiness" and it makes me smile when I look at it.


Once I get it framed, it will be hung in my craft room. And if I have more money next year, I may splurge on a larger print to add to the wall.

If you didn't go to the festival, I'm sure you heard here on the web and blogosphere of the thefts and vandalism that occurred at the festival. A shawl from Brooks Farm was stolen, booths in the main barn were broken into (cash registers pried open and yarn and merchandise stolen), and the pens of many animals were opened to let them run around the fairgrounds.

The innocence of the festival is gone. It will be forever changed and that saddens me to the core.

From this festival on, cheerful smiles and warm welcomes will be tainted with accusatory looks and anticipatory tension. Is she just looking at that yarn? Or is she scoping the booth? Did she just put something in her bag? Did she pay for that? Or just walk away from the booth? Where's my wallet?

So was this vandalism and thievery done out of desperation? Is the economy so far in the crapper that the high prices for gas and food drove some poor fiber enthusiast to do the worst? Or is it a case of bored teenagers causing trouble and trying to make some money? Or had some opportunistic robbers stumbled upon what they considered an easy target?

Who knows.

What I do know is that at next year's festival, the fiber community will be on high alert to anything they see at the festival. Just like the neighborhood crime watches that communities put together, we'll all be looking out for trouble or things gone awry in order to stop such a thing from happening again. Be afraid. Be very afraid, you would-be fiber thieves! We'll find you!!!

For a more complete review of MS&W 2008, check out one by Knitter's Review here.

I posted before of the emptiness and sadness when the festival ended and my girls went back home. But I don't want to end on a sad note. For I am already looking forward to next year when we'll all be together again and we will make the trek out to the fairgrounds for fiber goodness.

I leave you with one last photo - this one is of Senor Sheep. Who thought a stuffed sheep and a stick-on moustache would result in such high comedy?

Senor Sheep

Only 50 weeks until MS&W 2009!!!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Completed Project: Baby Afghan (gender neutral)

From a small square to a wonky finished blanket...

Baby Afghan 09

Baby Afghan 04

Again - all the details are in Ravelry...so if you're not already signed up to join, go get in line. Shouldn't be much longer that they are in beta - but who knows.

This blanket was made for a friend who is due in June. They are keeping the gender a surprise until the big day, hence the gender neutral colors. There seems to be quite a bit of blue in the blanket, but I don't think it makes it too boyish. Plus, they're Jewish, so the blue shouldn't be an isssue regardless of gender, right? ;)

So why did I call it a "wonky" blanket?

Take a look for yourself...

Baby Afghan 07

Baby Afghan 08

WTF?? Why are my corners so freakishly bigger than the rest of my blanket? I didn't add any extra stitches so I don't know why my gauge made this all funky. Here's hoping that the washing machine and some gentle blocking get this blanket into shape. (It's wishful thinking given the fact that the yarn is 100% acrylic.)


I knew of one pregnant friend - due in June and the baby blanket is now done and awaiting delivery.

Then I found out about a dear friend who is newly prego - who then informs me of another friend who is further along than she is! Two more babies this year!

And thus - two more blankets and/or accessories are in the queue.

The Queen has joked that my Native American name would be "Crochets Like The Wind". Time to live up to that name if I expect to get all this baby stuff done before the little ones arrive. Perhaps I can put some of that stashed yarn to good use...then again, I just got a Joann's email telling me all the baby yarn is now on sale. Coincidence? Or a wonderful opportunity?

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Happy Sheep

Howdy there, neighborinos!

(Thanks to Ned Flanders for that cheerful hello.)

I'm here - I'm just trying to get through this damned work week. If there is one thing I've learned, it's that the week of work following the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival is a long and sad one.

The festival grounds are empty, the vendors have packed up and gone, my girls are back home, and as the Queen pointed out, it is the longest time before the next MS&W.

So. sad. indeed.

I don't have time during the week to properly blog so the MS&W update will have to wait until the weekend.

But I will leave you with some photos of the cake I made for the girls. It's titled "Happy Sheep". I could have also titled it "Tasty Sheep" because it was one delicious cake!



Completed Project: Knit Cap

Because Ravelry documents all the details for me, I'm not including them all here. Call me lazy (which I am) or pressed for time (which I also am). Head over to Ravelry for the details or just enjoy the few pictures below of my first finished knitting project.

Easy Beanie 04

Easy Beanie 03

I finished this project over a week ago but just got aroudn to posting about it. Figures that I would complete such a warm and cozy wool hat just in time for 80 degree weather in DC. Maybe I'll go turn up the AC and wear it around the house for awhile.

And this knitting thing is a lot of fun...but no worries. I'm still the Crocheting Commuter. I'm just branching out.